In 1989, Reebok introduced Pump technology in a basketball shoe. During the 1990s, it transitioned into the running and aerobics shoe categories. This week, Reebok launched their latest version of the Pump, the ZPump Fusion, a running shoe made to adapt to the contours of your feet.
On scene to witness and help with the launch was UFC President Dana White and several MMA athletes: featherweight and lightweight champion Connor McGregor, strawweight sensation Paige VanZant, and light heavyweight champion Jon "Bones" Jones.
"Running has always been a big part of conditioning for fighting," noted White.
The shoe's pump element starts with a lightweight, air-filled cage that goes around the top and sides of the foot when you put the shoe on. When you push the pump actuator near the ankle, it channels air into the cage, which expands and tightens around the upper foot and the heel.
"I might like six pumps, you might like five. I might like 10 pumps when I go for a run and three pumps wearing it around casually. It's all up to you, your individual foot shape, every time you wear the shoe," said Reebok's Bill McInnis.
The ZPump Fusion consists of three pieces—the pump, the Fusion sleeve and the outsole. Made of 360-degree stretch lightweight fabric—which is sock-like, seamless and without structure when uninflected—the sleeve fuses the pump technology to the foot as the cage inflates.
"The idea here was to fundamentally change the way we build footwear," McInnis said. "If you look at typical shoe construction, you have over 40 pieces, all laid out in a factory, and they get glued, stitched and welded together all around a plastic foot shape."
The ZRated outsole material was inspired by high performance ZRated tires, a technology Reebok introduced in 2014, with edges and grooves to improve traction and handling, particularly on turns and changes of direction.
"We tear our feet up in the gym," said VanZant, "so it's really important to have shoes that are really comfortable when you're running, building your stamina and endurance, to make sure you last when you get on the mat. I don't fight in shoes; your feet get torn up on the mat, but these feel close to the real thing."
The ZPump Fusion will be available beginning March 10 at retailers and on Reebok.com. Reebok unveil new colorways each month.
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